When you think of TOMS, you can’t help but think of the “one for one” model the company pioneered in 2006. It took the retail industry by storm and has been replicated time and again by other companies hoping to make positive change. But TOMS was the innovator.
In the last eight years, TOMS has donated 10 million pairs of shoes to kids around the world, which has made for a lot of happy feet! The company has branched out into eyewear, coffee and now TOMS Marketplace, a different way to shop and give back.Saira Makhani Through the Marketplace, customers can purchase handmade jewelry, clothing, handbags and accessories knowing that the proceeds are going to a good cause, whether its building infrastructure in Africa, supporting education in Asia or empowering women in Central America. In other words, the Marketplace is perfectly in line with TOMS’ mission: to improve people’s lives through business. And right now, TOMS is making it even easier to do good by offering RetailMeNot readers a 20% discount through May 25.
We talked to Saira Makhani, left, the Marketplace account manager, about all the great products available and the differences the new platform has already made.The Blue Dahlia Necklace from Noonday
Tell us about TOMS Marketplace. How and why was it created?
TOMS Marketplace lives within TOMS.com and offers an assortment of apparel, home goods, tech accessories, jewelry, bags and more. Each product sold within the Marketplace benefits one or more causes, including nutrition, job creation, women’s rights, education, children and more. For example, if you buy the Annabelle Earrings from 31 Bits ($32), you’re helping that company provide employment, training and counseling to women in Uganda. The Blue Dahlia Necklace ($72) from Noonday helps create economic opportunity for artisans in Latin America.
The Marketplace was created because we wanted to partner with other socially minded companies and give them a platform to share their amazing stories about the positive change they are making around the world. We want to use the Marketplace as a way to come together with like-minded businesses and build momentum for social entrepreneurs everywhere.
How are the Marketplace products sourced and the companies chosen?
There are tons of amazing companies out there working to improve the lives of people around the world. When we source a company to join the Marketplace, each brand goes through a formal process to ensure the best quality standards are upheld and to ensure that the “give back” component is authentic and aligns with TOMS’ mission.
I set up calls with each company, learn about how and why they started their business, what inspired them, what they are doing to make a positive difference and, of course, what kind of products they are selling. Next, our Merchandising and Giving teams assess the company and their products for their respective areas. The Giving team evaluates each brand’s commitment to sustainable giving. We want to make sure that each company within the TOMS Marketplace has a strong and clearly defined commitment to giving.
Are there plans to expand the Marketplace to perhaps include more categories or even products within the current categories?
The Marketplace is a platform that we are incredibly focused on growing. We are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting products that we can add to our catalog. We want to offer our customers one shopping destination where they can find socially-conscious and fashionable products for men, women, kids, their home and even their pets.LSTN Beech Wood Troubadour Headphones
How does it feel to work for a company that is so socially minded?
It is such an honor! I have the privilege of working with over 40 companies that are incredibly inspirational to me. I love hearing stories about their most recent accomplishments and learning how their partnership with TOMS has enabled them to give even more across the world.
Melody Murray, the founder of JOYN, recently told me that the order that TOMS placed with her company allowed her to sustain 150 artisan families and provide them with medical care and education for their children. JOYN is based in India and employs talented artisans who create beautiful block-printed textiles, handbags and accessories.
Joe Huff, co-founder of LSTN Headphones, explained that the TOMS Marketplace Holiday order helped them restore hearing for almost 1,500 people! For every pair of headphones sold, LSTN helps restore hearing to a person in need. Each of their headphones produce amazing sound quality as well!
Being a part of TOMS and working with such amazing companies makes me feel motivated to work hard each and every day.
Would you mind naming a few of your favorite items?
There are so many things I want to buy from the Marketplace! I love our collections of bags, jewelry and apparel. The new women’s Boysenberry Pocket Tank ($30) from Krochet Kids intl. and the Giraffe Print Tank ($38) from Raven + Lily are really cute and perfect for Summer.
Boysenberry Pocket Tank from Krochet Kids intl. (left) and Giraffe Print Tank from Raven + Lily
I also love the new Poppet Bracelet ($38) from 31 Bits that’s made out of paper beads. The Marketplace also has some very fashionable men’s tees, like the Stripe Pocket Tee ($48) from Apolis and the Black Geometric Pocket Men’s Tee ($42) from Della and the Goldenrod Pocket Tank from Krochet Kids intl.
From left: Poppet Bracelet from 31 Bits; Stripe Pocket Tee from Apolis; Black Geometric Pocket Men’s Tee from Della; and the Goldenrod Pocket Tank from Krochet Kids intl.
We just launched our Summer Collection and there are several items that we know will be really hot this season. For a fun, daytime event, check out the Black Babydoll Floral Dress ($48) from Della. This can easily be dressed up to wear at night!
Pair your dress with the Natural Daisy Bag ($28) from Krochet Kids intl. to complete your look. Each item from Krochet Kids intl. is signed by the artisan who made it, making this bag the perfect gift with a great story behind it.
If you’re headed out for a day in the sun, grab the Exclusive Navy Chevron Hobo Hippy Bag ($30) from JOYN and throw on an Ikat Ballcap ($25) from Piece & Co.
If you want to learn more about how your purchase helps support people around the world, please visit each company’s brand or product page.
Through May 25, you can save 20% off all Marketplace items with our exclusive RetailMeNot code.